February 5, 2008
Posted: 08:19 AM ET
If you're old enough to remember the Twentieth Century, you're old enough to remember a time without early voting, electronic voting, MeetUp.com (the hotspot four years ago), MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, and candidates without entire brigades of staffers devoted to outreach and fundraising online. The great leaps forward continue: Four years ago, Howard Dean blew away online fundraising records by raising $27 million online. Barack Obama beat that total in the month of January alone, and Ron Paul may not be bringing in huge vote totals, but he's an internet juggernaut.
It was only a matter of time before Google Earth met the campaigns.
"Superdelegates" are the designated convention delegates who aren't bound by what's decided in the Democratic primaries or caucuses. A site called superdelegates.org has plotted out who they are, where they're based, and which candidate, if any, they're supporting. It exists as an overlay file for Google Earth at www.superdelegates.org.
Click on the link if you've signed up for Google Earth, and you'll be transported to the Google globe; pull into the U.S., and you'll see a coast-to-coast array of Superdelegates - those committed to Obama, to Clinton, or to no one at all. The site also links to Wikipedia bios for each delegate. Although Wiki bios have often been criticized as less than objective, the site is still a decent source of basic info on who the Superdelegates are. While clearly focused on the Democrats' race, the superdelegates.org site describes itself as independent of the Dems' party apparatus.
On the Republican side, the "Superdelegate" rough-equivalents are called "Unpledged Delegates." No Google Earth overlay there yet, but stay tuned.
This site didn't really help me understand why the parties have Superdelegates and Unpledged Delegates. And absolutely nothing will help me understand the Electoral College. But it's one little insight into one cyber-smoke-filled-room on the Campaign Trail.
Peter Dykstra, Executive Producer, CNN Sci-Tech
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